Damp proofers provide a service to customers who have damp problems with residential or commercial properties. They may also install damp-proof courses to old properties where necessary.
A damp-proof course is a horizontal layer of water-proof/water-repellent material which prevents moisture rising up the wall from the ground.
In the case of new property, damp courses are laid as the walls are constructed and a layer of damp-proof membrane or material is installed between the bricks. They are installed by the bricklayers as they do the brickwork.
Problems with damp on older properties may be caused by:
Walls can become damp from the foundations upwards if a damp-proof course has been breached or if no damp-proof course exists, and this is called rising damp. Rising damp will continue and cause dampness inside the property, ruining the decorations and causing rotting of contact timber (joists, floorboards and skirting boards).
The work begins with an inspection of the property, using moisture meters, to check the nature of the problem and find out whether:
As a result of these investigations, recommendations are made which will include an estimate for the work required. This may involve:
A number of remedial damp-proof course (DPC) systems are available to the damp proofer most of which involve drilling holes in the walls and using high-pressure or low-pressure DPC injection of mortar or injected creams or gels.
Damp proofers usually work a 38-hour week, Monday to Friday, but may sometimes be required to work overtime, including evenings and weekends. Hours worked depend upon the location of the job, the requirements of the customer and in some cases on the weather. It may not be possible to work at all in very bad weather.
The work is mainly outdoors and is very physical. Working conditions can sometimes be uncomfortable. In summer it may be very hot and in winter cold and wet. A considerable amount of travelling may be involved between different work sites and projects, and a driving licence may be useful.
Starting salaries for damp proofers range from around £12,000 to £15,000 a year. Damp proofers are paid in line with industry-recommended rates. Bonus payments are a regular feature of this type of work.
There are over 1,500 damp proofing contractors across the UK. Approximately 300 are members of the Property Care Association, which is a division of the British Wood Preserving and Damp Proofing Association (BWPDA). They are listed on the BWPDA website.
There are also many companies working in related fields such as timber treatment, waterproofing and pest control.
Applications could be made directly to individual companies. Vacancy information may be available from Jobcentre Plus offices and in the local press. Some companies may advertise for unqualified staff. Self-employment is possible.
No set academic qualifications are required, but GCSE's (A-E) in English and maths are an advantage as damp proofers need to be able to calculate quantities, make estimates and keep written records.
There are no colleges providing apprenticeship training, but some private companies may consider an apprenticeship deal.
Apprenticeships and Advanced Apprenticeships provide structured training with an employer. As an apprentice you must be paid at least £95 per week; you may well be paid more. A recent survey found that the average wage for apprentices was £170 a week. Your pay will depend on the sector in which you work, your age, the area where you live and the stage at which you have arrived in the Apprenticeship.
Entry to Employment (e2e) can help to prepare those who are not yet ready for an Apprenticeship. In addition, Young Apprenticeships may be available for 14- to 16-year-olds. More information is available from a Connexions personal adviser or at www.apprenticeships.org.uk.
There are different arrangements for Apprenticeships in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Training is mainly on the job under the supervision of experienced damp proofers, with special courses available on safety awareness from the damp-proof installer companies. BWPDA run short class-based courses for technicians and there are also some instruction courses run by the manufacturers.
Damp proofing skills are also eligible for occupational assessment under the Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS Card). NVQ Level 2 Insulation and Remedial Maintenance Operations is required for this and has been developed by CITB-ConstructionSkills.
Courses approved by CITB-ConstructionSkills are certificated and recognised throughout the industry. Details of courses and providers can be obtained from CITB-ConstructionSkills regional offices.
Laboratory technicians carry out routine laboratory tests and perform a variety of technical support functions to help scientists, technologists and others with their work. They can work in research and development, scientific analysis and testing, education and manufacturing.
They are employed in a wide range of scientific fields which affect almost every aspect of our lives.
A damp proofer should:
There are prospects for promotion to remedial treatment surveyor or supervisory posts. The BWPDA runs its own training courses for surveyors and technicians.
Some damp proofers may become self-employed.
The British Wood Preserving and Damp-proofing Association (BWPDA),
1 Gleneagles House, Vernongate, Derby DE1 1UP
Tel: 01332 225100
Additional resources for job seekers and those already in a job.